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Experience Makes a Difference

Academic studies. Career exploration. Community involvement.

We aim to enrich undergraduate education in the Faculty of Social Sciences through fostering unique approaches to learning within the classroom and more actively engaging students in the community, as well as promoting strong relationships between academic studies, career exploration and community involvement.

Program Information

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Social Work?

Social Work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to Social Work. […] Social Work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.” International Federation of Social Workers (2014)

2. What are the program options for Social Work? What GPA/courses do I need?

Program options are:
Honours Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)

Supplementary Application
The School of Social Work online Supplementary Application for Admission is open for September 2021. This application must be completed and submitted to the School of Social Work no later than February 1, 2021 for the September 2021 admissions applications.

S.W.A.T. (Social Work Admissions Test)
Once you have completed the Supplementary Application and submitted, you will receive a confirmation screen and your next step would be to activate your Mac ID. The S.W.A.T. will be written online through Avenue to Learn in February 2021. The available S.W.A.T. dates will be given in the Supplementary Application Form, applicants select the date preferred.

The School of Social Work will obtain a copy of your official transcripts directly from the Office of the Registrar at McMaster. You need not need to initiate this process.

3. What is the S.W.A.T and when is it written?

The S.W.A.T. or Social Work Admissions Test is one thing that is considered when deciding who to admit to the program. We give 50% consideration to your marks and 50% consideration to your score on the S.W.A.T. The S.W.A.T. is usually written in early February, but applicants must submit the Supplementary Application Form in order to be eligible to write this exam.

4. What can we expect to see on the S.W.A.T.?

Some questions assess your interest in and preparation for becoming a social worker. Other questions relate to social issues. They can take the form of case scenarios, in which you are asked how a social worker might handle a particular situation, or they can describe a social problem and you are asked to describe the major issues and your analysis of them. We are more interested in who you are and how you see the world rather than how much information you know.

5. Do I need the two first year social work courses to apply into the Honours BSW program? If I don't have one of them do I have to take a summer course and apply the following year?

You need six units of intro Sociology and/or Social Work combined, as well as six additional units from the Social Sciences course list. So, you can take one Intro to Sociology and one Intro to Social Work course plus 6 additional units from the course list and be eligible.

6. What can I do with this degree? What are the career pathways?

Social Work can take you almost anywhere. It is a professional degree and here are just some of the areas you can find work:

- Child Welfare
- Hospital Social Work
- Shelter Support
- Community Development
- Early Childhood Education
- Mental Health
- Housing
- School Social Work
- Child and Family Therapy
- Policy Development

7. What are some experiential opportunities in the program?

Students have two significant placements in community agencies, one in the third-year and another in the fourth-year.  There are many experiential opportunities built into courses as well, including interviewing, advocacy work and case studies.

8. I’ve heard it’s hard to get into the program and I’m nervous! What is your suggestion for those who do not get admitted to the program but still desire to become a social worker?.

We encourage you to apply if you are passionate about Social Work! There are various pathways into the program. The program does not admit students who are currently in their first year and apply to the Honours BSW, but these students can continue to take courses and apply the following year. The Honours BSW is a 4-year program, including your first year. If applying in the second year, and admitted, you would meet with the academic advisor to ensure that you complete the program in the same time frame.  

Download Program Brochure